Malaysian Super League: Nizam's night to remember

Malaysian Super League: Nizam's night to remember
PHOTO: The Straits Times

World-class. Spectacular. Golazo.

It was, in his own words, "the most beautiful goal in my career".

And it could well be the best goal witnessed in the Malaysian Super League this season, an instinctive improvisation like V Sundramoorthy's bicycle-kick goal against Brunei in 1993.

LionsXII striker Khairul Nizam was on the pitch for only seven minutes as a subsitute for Khairul Amri when he eyed Faritz Abdul Hameed's cross from the right wing in the 88th minute.

The 24-year-old then launched himself into an acrobatic scissors-kick to score a dramatic 88th-minute equaliser.

Nizam's goal cancelled out Afiq Azmi's 59th-minute opener and also helped extend his team's unbeaten record at the Jalan Besar Stadium to 14 games.

"I have always wanted to score this beautiful goal throughout my career," said a beaming Nizam post-match.

"It is something I have tried many times in matches, but it never came off. I have scored some in training, but never in a competitive match.

"When I saw the cross come in, I wanted to head the ball, but it was too low, so I had to improvise, and I'm so happy it went in for the equaliser because I really didn't want us to lose at home."

Coaches from both teams joined in the tributes for the breathtaking goal.

Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic, a former Australian international who won three Malaysia Cups with the Red Giants, said: "It's a world-class goal and you cannot do anything about that."

Even while reliving the moment, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad got pumped up, and said: "What a spectacular goal!

"I thought he would chest the ball but he went for it and did something really special. We have faith in him and that's why he is in our team, and we are really happy for him."

With two matches remaining, the LionsXII are still in the hunt for a top-four finish even though they are seventh on 30 points now, three points behind third-placed Selangor.

While his players are fighting fatigue, as evident in a sluggish first half before coming alive in the last half hour, Fandi said his team will go all out for the six points and end the season on a high.

He said: "As you have seen, we have special players who can create special moments like these, and we hope our fans will come for our last home league match against Sime Darby next Saturday and also support us during the Malaysia Cup."

This article was first published on August 16, 2015.
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